BREAKING: Empire to acquire Farm Boy

Sobeys' parent says acquisition will speed up its growth in parts of Ontario

The parent company of grocery chain Sobeys Inc. says it has reached a deal to acquire food retailer Farm Boy in a bid to expand its reach in Ontario.

Empire Co. Ltd. says the acquisition, which values the Ontario-based chain of grocery stores at $800 million, includes 26 Farm Boy locations in the province.

Empire says the deal will allow it to speed up its growth in markets such as Toronto and southwestern Ontario, with new sites and the conversion of some existing Sobeys locations.

Empire chief executive Michael Medline says the company is hoping to double the size of the Farm Boy business.

Under the deal, Farm Boy will be set up as a separate company and continue to be led by founder and co-CEO Jean-Louis Bellemare and Jeff York, who has been the other co-CEO since 2009. Farm Boy's co-CEOs have also agreed to reinvest in the company return for a 12% interest of the continuing Farm Boy business.

Empire says Farm Boy products will also be added to Sobeys' Ocado-based e-commerce business, an online grocery platform which will launch in 2020 in the Greater Toronto Area.

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